with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Heading North To Michigan Then Seattle

My father’s stay here in Mobile, Alabama, has long past its expiration date and we’re planning to head out of the Gulf Coast towards Seattle, the long way.

I’m really nervous about traveling right now as winter isn’t quite over, but he wants to get home and isn’t willing to wait another two weeks for safety’s sake. So we head out.

We’re heading north for Michigan to do some genealogy exploration before heading across to Seattle.

I’ve been helping my father research his family tree for many years, beginning as a very young teenager. He has his family bible dated from the early 1800s and the family tree is fairly well spelled out, or so we thought. When I first transcribed it, I realized that it was all names and dates with no connections between which name belonged to which person when and where.

I was able to make some connections with the Farlin family marrying into the West family, but then it came to a dead end. I could pick back up at my great grandfather, Walter West, and trace it to me, but the gap remained for over 15 years.

Over the past few years I’ve posted an occasional message or two on genealogy forums trying to connect the dots between the Farlin/West family and my known Wests. Little or no luck until this winter.

A family having the same problems with their family tree found one of my posts and they sent me an email. It was clear from the beginning that they expected that there was no connection, but they’d been searching for so long, anything was possible. I sent them some information from my family bible and research, and they said that it looked possible, but they weren’t sure.

I told them of the missing pieces in my family tree and wondered if they could help. The next day I got an email that solved my 15 year old mystery, and brought plenty of new ones into the mix. Amazing. I couldn’t believe it.

I copied some of my research and the barely decipherable family bible records and mailed it to this family in Michigan, hoping to help them as much as they helped me. A few days later I got an amazing email telling me that I had helped them solve the mystery gaps in their family tree puzzling them for 44 YEARS! Wow!

Since then, I’ve done more Internet research and filled in a lot of gaps now that I have some core information to go on. The Michigan family has been traveling to Lenawee County in Michigan, where the Farlin and West families combined, and researching tons of records to help substantiate the Farlin and West family trees. We’ve been helping each other fill in the missing blanks and it’s been very exciting.

So exciting that when I get done with taking my father back to Seattle, I’m going to start a new website dedicated to our family research, in the hope that we can get more of the gaps filled in, and find more missing relatives along the way.

Oh, this family in Michigan are my cousins. Many times removed but cousins all the same. My dad is thrilled.

The other part of the mystery is how this ancient bible transfered from one family to another. We’re still trying to figure out all the pieces, and the mystery is shaking the foundations of my father’s long held beliefs, but we’re getting closer. It’s fun to dig into history like this. Very exciting.

So if you are on our route, which isn’t quite established, from Mobile, Alabama, to Lansing and Lenawee County in Michigan, then across the US to Washington State, and you’re a fan of this site and willing to host our small Class C motor home in a smoke free environment….okay, so I’m begging for people to meet and greet along the way. It makes the trip so much more enjoyable when we know there’s a warm place to sleep and kind people to meet. You can leave a comment or contact me through our contact page.

I’ll do my best to keep you all updated on our travels. While you are waiting for me to return to “normal life” again, once my dad is back in his home and habits and I return to Mobile, Alabama, and the heat and humidity and hurricane life, stay tuned for some very exciting articles and resources coming to this website. I’ve got some great plans.

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